The Happiest Countries

The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) came up with a tool to measure subjective well-being. On their website, you can see the Better Life Index which compares 36 different countries according to 11 categories. The categories are:

Housing: rooms per person, basic facilities and cost.

Income: earning and financial assets.

Jobs: employment rate, personal earnings, job security.

Community: having friends or relatives in case of need.

Education: years in education, performance, attainment.

Environment: air pollution and water quality.

Civic engagement: governmental transparency and number of voters.

Health: life expectancy and self-reported health.

Life satisfaction: positive feelings and experiences.

Safety: assault and homicide rate.

Life-work balance: number of hours worked and time devoted to leisure and personal care.

I think this is a really interesting survey to analyse. Australia ranked higher than any other country when taking all items into consideration. However, when considering only Life Satisfaction, the item which has the closest relationship to happiness, Australia wasn’t even in the top 10. Mexico had one of the lowest ranks in general but was tenth in Life Satisfaction.

I’m going to go into detail about some specific countries for the benefit of some special readers =)

The United Kingdom scored specially high on safety, community and environment. Personally, I think these items are very important.

I’m sad to say that Brazil didn’t score well enough in any of the items. Income was actually the lowest of all 36 countries. The highest in Brazil was work-life balance. No wonder. If they can’t make any money, they should at least work less hehe.

Sweden scored really high, being second in general right after Australia. Environment was the highest which should make my friend Camila happy knowing how important this is to her. The lowest item was income, which I have to say, was quite surprising for me.

I think it’s worth mentioning that if you want to make money, the place to go is the United States. No surprises there.

Germany was pretty much in the middle in all items. Education seems to be one of its strong points.

Now, the best past: on the website you can arrange the tool to find which countries are the best according to what you think is more and less relevant. Therefore, you can find the perfect country for you =)

According to the tool, Norway would be the best for me. Not really in my plans though. They should probably include weather in this tool.

You can find yours here: OECD Better Life Index

What do you think about this survey? Are these items important? Would you include or exclude any items to measure well-being?

Other sources:

World’s Happiest Countries 2013

How do you measure a country’s happiness

10 Questions To Make You Think – March

This one comes a bit late because I was away in Brazil having too much fun but I haven’t forgotten my promise so here are the 10 questions for March:

  1. How could today have been better?
    Today’s just one day but it might represent your everyday so your answer can help improve not only today but your life in general.
  2. If you could add one hour to your day, what would you do with it?
    Maybe you can rearrange things and find time to do it anyway.
  3. In three words, describe your spirituality.

  4. What new activity have you tried?
    It’s very important to try new activities whenever you can. They give meaning to life and make you feel empowered.

  5. What do you daydream about?
    Sometimes this can say a lot about you, what you want and how you are feeling.
  6.  What makes you laugh?
    Laughter is the best medicine. It boosts your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain and protect you against the effects of stress. Therefore, you should do it as often as possible. Read more about it here.
  7. Who do you aspire to be like?
    And what can you do to achieve that?
  8. When was the last time you felt like you were on top of the world?
    Reliving good memories boosts your happiness. Plus this might help you figure out what you can do to go back to that moment or have more moments like that.

  9.  What do you want to remember about today?
    Every day has something good about it. Sometimes we forget to appreciate the little things that happen in our everyday life.
  10. Write down a few lines from a song or poem that you identify with at the moment.




Where is the best place to live?


I am originally from Brazil but I’m currently living in Oxford. Every time I go back to Brazil on holidays, I have this strange feeling that I don’t fit there anymore.

At first, it seemed crazy, I lived in Brazil most of my life and I have only been living in Oxford for two years. So, I thought a lot about it and the conclusion I reached is that I had never actually fit in Brazil. I have always felt that I didn’t belong there. There’s nothing wrong with Brazil, on the contrary, it is a wonderful country. Many people think Brazil is a great place to live. The truth is that when I lived there, I never thought I didn’t belong there, I just thought I didn’t belong anywhere. That’s because I didn’t know anything different from the life I had there.

Nowhere is perfect. If you expect it to be, you will never be satisfied anywhere. There are things that are better in Brazil and other things that are better in England but the important part was to weigh the things that were important to me, my priorities. According to my priorities, Oxford is a better place to live at the moment (although not the best). But I am well aware that Oxford is not the best place to live for everyone. There are actually many Brazilians that come to live here and can’t wait to go back.

A proof of that is that people from England constantly ask me “Why the hell would you want to leave Brazil?”. But at the same time, people from Brazil ask me how they can move to England and say how lucky I am to be able to live here.

The best place to live is the place that satisfies your most important priorities. They say the best place to live in the world is Vienna in Austria but I’m sure a surfer wouldn’t think so.